24 Killed, 70 Injured as Metro Overpass Collapses in Mexico City

The Mexico City subway has 12 lines and carries millions of passengers each day.

3 min read
An unknown number of people remain trapped amid the debris and the twisted metal.

A metro overpass collapsed on Monday night in Mexico City, sending the coaches of a passenger train diving to the ground and killing more than 20 people, authorities said.

At least 70 others were injured, officials said, and an unknown number remain trapped amid the debris and the twisted metal.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum arrived at the crash site to coordinate the search and rescue operation and later confirmed that 24 people had died, news agency AFP reported.

The Mexico City subway has 12 lines and carries millions of passengers each day.

Trigger warning:

Dozens of emergency workers were seen trying to rescue victims from the carriages. However, the work was later suspended because of fears of the wreckage being too unstable.

Sheinbaum had added, “For now, the rescue has been suspended because the train is very weak. A crane is coming to continue the work.”

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, while speaking at a press conference, said that the investigation should be done quickly and that nothing should be hidden from the public. Declaring three days of national mourning, he added, “There’s no impunity for anyone.”

US Vice President Kamala Harris and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent their condolences to the victims’ families and friends.

France’s Alstom SA, one of the companies that won the original contract to build the line, promised to be cooperative with the investigation. Whereas, billionaire Carlos Slim’s Carso Infraestructura y Construccion SA said it would await the results of the probe before commenting further.

Warnings Ignored

The metro accident happened on Line 12 (Golden Line), which was completed only nine years ago in October 2012. The structural failure has raised questions about the construction of the line, for the mayor's office and for former mayors, such as Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who was in office when Line 12 was unveiled and who had advocated for the metro expansion.

The head of the metro workers’ union, Fernando Espino, alleged that the construction was faulty. “Such a new site, just eight or nine years old, has no reason to suffer a situation like this,” he told Radio Formula.

In 2014, Mexico City officials had closed most of the Golden Line’s service after determining that twisted rails and damaged ties were endangering passengers. While the line underwent major repairs and later reopened, severe damages after the 2017 earthquake were reported, to a portion of the track one station away from the current collapsed beam.

Mariana, 26, who survived the crash, told El Universal, “We only heard a loud thunder, and everything fell apart.” Adding that she had hit the roof of the coach, Marianna said, “There were many people standing and sitting in the carriage.”

Fifty-nine-year-old resident, Lourdes Urbina, said that it was reprehensible because, “People have been saying for a long time that it was going to fall and it was not made well. These are people out there looking for their daily bread, and all of a sudden their families didn’t come home,” Bloomberg reported.

Miguel Constancio Navarro, a 30-year-old furniture maker who lives a block away from the fallen overpass, was reported as saying, “We all knew there were problems. The people are paying for a mistake of the government’s engineers.”

Monday's accident comes a year after two metro trains had collided in Mexico City, leaving one dead and around 40 injured, AFP reported.

This also comes amid the COVID pandemic, which has left more than 2,17,000 people dead in the country, one of the world's highest tolls.

(With inputs from AFP, Bloomberg and El Universal)

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